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Roundtable attorney Joe Fried recovers $1.2 million jury verdict against bad truck company

Written by Steve Gursten Posted November 4th, 2013

A truck company that admitted responsibility – after its driver fell asleep behind the wheel and killed a man at a red light – argues damages are excessive

Truck accident attorney Joe Fried

My fellow attorneys at the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable and I  have litigated hundreds of serious truck crashes. And through it all, we’ve unfortunately seen the worst of the worst trucking companies. Those companies that throw mandatory safety laws out the window in the name of pursuing more profit, and  don’t frankly seem to care if they kill or maim people by doing so.

However, between the three of us, this truck company may take the cake.

I recently successfully tried a truck accident case in Florida with my associate, Sean McEvoy. We were able to recover $1.2 million from the defendant trucking company, YRC Inc. YRC admitted responsibility for the crash.

Here’s what happened: YRC’s driver either fell asleep or “lost consciousness” as he was operating his semi-truck in Gainsville, Florida. While this was going on, several cars were lawfully stopped at a red light. The YRC truck, which had a sleeping driver behind the wheel, barreled into the line of cars causing a terrible truck accident.

When the dust settled, this violent crash left Mr. Dennis Brown dead. I represented Mr. Brown’s mother in her wrongful death suit against YRC.

At first glance, it appeared that YRC owned up to causing this truck accident by admitting responsibility for its driver causing the crash.

But here’s where it gets outrageous.

YRC contended that since it admitted liability, the jury was not entitled to know any details of the crash. The truck company further contended that liability was established, and the details of the crash somehow did not matter because it could not expand the scope of damages and its liability.

Suddenly, it appeared as though YRC was not taking responsibility for its bad behavior, but rather the admission was really an underhanded ploy to gain an advantage at trial.

YRC’s disgraceful behavior didn’t stop there. In fact, that’s not even the bad part.

After trial, YRC actually argued that the $1.2 million jury award for the victim’s mother was “excessive and beyond any reasonable compensation.”

This is the lowest of low. A truck accident lawyer who has dealt with as many trucking companies, I’ve seen a lot of offensive and downright unintelligent arguments. But this takes the prize. YRC actually argued that a Mr. Brown’s life was not worth $1.2 million. They actually proposed that Mr. Brown’s mother — who lost her son in this entirely senseless and preventable truck accident — was given an excessive jury award.

YRC is way out of line, and even more so, out of touch with reality. Mr. Brown’s suffering at the hands of a negligent truck driver, and the loss suffered by Mr. Brown’s mother, is absolutely horrible.

It is so difficult to lose a loved one at any point in life. It’s even more difficult when an irresponsible, negligent truck driver or a bad trucking company snatches the life of a loved one.

It is extremely difficult knowing that somebody’s carelessness and disregard for the rules killed your loved one. It’s even more difficult knowing that the truck accident was not really an “accident” at all. It was actually entirely preventable.

This “accident” involving YRC was the culmination of a bad trucking company failing to observe the rules.

I’m truly saddened by YRC’s behavior. YRC’s devaluing of human life is as angering as it is troubling. But these kinds of stories serve as a reminder why it’s so important to fight against dangerous truck companies. These companies put profit ahead of life, and that’s why we work so hard on behalf truck accident victims here at the Roundtable.

Related information:

FMCSA shuts down Highway Star

Truck accident law and what you need to know

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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